TGH needs loan ceiling raised again

February 23, 2003 11:00 pm

By ABBY SOUZA

Based on projections by the county auditor-controller's office, Tuolumne General Hospital's debt will be more than its county loan allows for the rest of the fiscal year.

At tomorrow's Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors meeting, county staff will ask the board to waive its loan ceiling of $5.5 million for the next four months, allowing TGH to borrow more money from the county if the need arises.

The county hospital spent more last month — $521,000 more than usual, making its outstanding loan balance more than $6 million.

That was the first time the hospital had to make use of the raised loan ceiling, though hospital officials have asked for the waiver as a precautionary measure for the past four months. January had three pay periods and billing was down because of a lack of patients in December. Plus, the hospital had already spent a $2 million infusion from the county's general fund.

The county has loaned the hospital $5.5 million over the last six years, and during the same period of time has given TGH about $11 million.

None of the $5.5 million has been repaid, and the hospital continues to run in the red.

In an effort to increase revenue and cut costs, TGH Administrator Barry Woerman and his staff put together a recovery plan for the hospital and presented it to the board earlier this month. The ideas put forth in the plan have yet to be implemented and are up for more discussion at the March 4 board meeting.

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